Unique insights into a monastery church and school

Alpirsbach Monastery

View into the monastery museum. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch
OF MONKS AND SCHOLARS

THE MONASTERY MUSEUM

Sixty years ago, renovations revealed a spectacular find. Fascinating everyday objects from six centuries can now be viewed in the monastery museum. The information center in the monastery's cellar provides insight into the monastic and architectural history of the place.

Detail of the Alpirsbach Monastery find in its discovery place. Image: Helga Bessler

Miscellany from across the centuries.

FROM THE LIVES OF MONKS AND STUDENTS

The hollow spaces in the severies of the east cloister wing hid a varied collection of everyday objects. Many of the items were used on a daily basis by former students. How and why they were tucked away in there remains a mystery. Perhaps they were being used as insulation. Fascinating articles of clothing, letters, drawings, games, containers from six centuries are now part of the permanent exhibit "Monks and Scholars" in the monastery museum.

Details from the monastery find. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

Report cards from the monastery school.

MONASTIC ROUTINES COME TO LIFE

The find included several tiles, bricks and brightly colored pieces of glass, which likely originated from the monastery church. A large portion of the find dates back to the monastery school in the 16th century and provides a very vivid image of the daily routines at the monastery. The papers and parchment fragments are both exciting and unusual: letters, homework and drawings done by students. They are remarkably well preserved due to their being stored in the vault notches.

EXPERTS ARE THRILLED

Shoes and shirts, a pair of men's pants and a doublet. Experts date the leather and textiles to the 15th and 16th century. Scholars are particularly excited about the found items because medieval clothing has otherwise only been described in period accounts. For example, the collection of shoes discovered includes a rare cow-mouth shoe.

Clothing, a doublet, now in the Alpirsbach monastery museum. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König
Shoes from the 15th century, now in the Alpirsbach monastery museum. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König
A old board game, now in the Alpirsbach monastery museum. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

Medieval clothing, shoes and games from the time of Dürer.

Oriel in the abbot's quarters at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

Grandly appointed.

FORMER ABBOT'S QUARTERS

The permanent exhibit displaying these sensational found items is appropriately located in the former abbot's quarters in the west wing of the conclave. After extensive restoration work, these late medieval features could be renewed and now the high Gothic rooms display their former ornate stucco and decorative painting. The modern exhibit architecture presents an exciting contrast to the historic decor.

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